Heriot-Watt high-speed camera technology project receives spinout funding

A GROUND-BREAKING research project at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which has developed an advanced camera technology with consistent, full-colour, high-definition resolution at millions of frames per second with applications in biomedical science and engineering, is to be commercialised.

The project has attracted £77,600 of funding from taxpayer-backed Scottish Enterprise’s high-growth spin-out programme.

Heriot-Watt said the technology is “set to revolutionise how biomedical science, engineering, and combustion research is conducted”.

It expressed hopes that the new technology would extend beyond traditional research and development to support industries across rail transportation, manufacturing, medicine, and quantum photonics “where demand for high-speed imaging has been identified by the team at Heriot-Watt University”.

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Heriot-Watt noted the commercial application of high-speed cameras “requires significantly faster image acquisition to capture the detail of extremely rapid, often transient events in applications such as microfluidics, fluidic dynamics, and ballistics studies”.

It said: “Most existing high-speed imaging systems achieve ultra-high frame rates at the expense of image resolution, making image quality a significant challenge. Additionally, these systems are very expensive, creating a potential financial barrier to industry and research organisations wishing to access the technology.”

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The university added that the unique camera it had developed “uses a novel architecture and advanced mathematical algorithm to deliver high-resolution images across its full speed range”.

It said: “Importantly, this has been achieved at a notably lower manufacturing cost than other market products by using ‘off-the-shelf’ components, making access to high-speed imaging more affordable.”

Xu Wang, the inventor of the technology and an associate professor in the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The most significant limit of existing high-speed cameras is poor resolution at high-frame rate coupled with high cost. Our ground-breaking camera technology provides an affordable market solution that delivers ultra-high speed without compromising high resolution thanks to its superior design and lower manufacturing cost.

“This funding will accelerate the commercialisation of our research to create a product capable of disrupting existing and new markets. The support of the enterprise team at Heriot-Watt University and Scottish Enterprise provides an incredible opportunity to build a profitable, industry-leading business at pace that is focused on driving further innovation in the field of camera technology in Scotland and beyond.”

A spokesman for Heriot-Watt noted the project is currently at the first stage of Scottish Enterprise’s high-growth spin-out programme, called “opportunity qualification”.

He added that the project had been granted a total budget higher than the maximum £75,000 Scottish Enterprise typically provides at this stage.

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